The National Association of State and Local Equity Funds (NASLEF) announced the appointment of Michelle Foster as its first full-time executive director. With 16 years of experience in analysis and engagement, Michelle will significantly elevate the network by leveraging her expertise to amplify the voice of NASLEF members through community development advocacy, identifying areas for improvement to makes initiatives stronger, and creating opportunities for collaborative actions that will enable NASLEF to strengthen their mission.
“As NASLEF members took a deep dive into our strategic plan and vision for the future, Michelle stood out as an extraordinary candidate for this position,” said Mark McDaniel, Cinnaire President and CEO. “She has an incredible track record at Cinnaire and will be missed by her colleagues, however, we are thrilled to see her step into this leadership position where she will play a key role in advancing the strategic goals of our association. We look forward to supporting Michelle as the new NASLEF Executive Director and working together to positively impact the affordable housing industry.”
NASLEF was formed in 1994 to promote the efficient management of state and local mission-based funders of affordable housing. Today, NASLEF has grown in capacity and impact, broadening its focus to include community development resources while also prioritizing the professional development of its member organizations. NASLEF member funds have raised over $18.7 billion in equity capital for rental housing development throughout the country, creating or rehabilitating more than 213,392 units of affordable housing in 4,458 developments. In the wake of the pandemic and aggression of aggregators in the market, NASLEF members came together and committed to growing stronger together.
“We are thrilled to have Michelle join NASLEF in this historic and important role,” said Bob Newman, chair of the NASLEF Board of Directors and CEO of VCDC, a Virginia based tax credit equity fund. “We are confident and excited that Michelle will be leading NASLEF through future challenges and have a bigger impact on those we serve.”
In her role at Cinnaire, a CDFI headquartered in Lansing, MI, and a founding NASLEF member, Michelle analyzed over $2.3 billion in affordable housing equity investments to evaluate fund placement. Her expertise in affordable housing and community development finance will bring a renewed energy to advance the mission of NASLEF and its members.
“As vulnerable families and individuals across the country struggle to secure and maintain housing stability, NASLEF is playing a critical role in addressing the housing crisis,” said Foster. “Creating and preserving affordable housing is more important than ever and I am honored to join NASLEF during this critical time to lead the association in its mission to advocate for our members and the many people they serve.”
Michelle is a recognized leader within her community and serves as board president for the Michigan Rural Development Council, a powerful voice advocating on behalf of the affordable housing industry. She also serves as Chair of the City of Ferndale Planning Commission and board director for Community and Home Supports (CHS), a Detroit nonprofit organization fighting poverty through housing and supportive services.